Having homemade chicken soup in my freezer makes me inordinately happy. It’s like money in the bank, gas in the car, and being in the middle of a good book.
Simple, old-fashioned chicken soup is one of my favorite foods to make with a friend. When you’re cooking, the house smells incredible. And then anytime you need it, for a quick dinner or to comfort a sick friend or child (I just brought some over to a neighbor), you have it, waiting.
Here’s our favorite recipe:
Old Fashioned Chicken Soup
4 quarts chicken broth (see below)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped very finely or put through a press
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 lbs. cooked or raw chicken, pulled off a whole bird, or boneless cut up chunks
8 celery stalks, chopped
8 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
7 sprigs fresh thyme, pulled off stems and chopped finely
7 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste
In a very large soup pot, sautee onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Pour in chicken broth and put heat on medium high. Add celery, carrots, bay leaf, herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, skimming off fat with a slotted spoon or sieve. Simmer 45 minutes or until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally while adjusting seasonings.
Add small dried cheese tortellini, fusilli, rice, or other pasta of your choice and cook according to pasta directions. If you are freezing this soup, we recommend adding pasta or rice after you thaw the soup, just before serving. For a hearty meal, serve with a loaf of good bread and a salad.
1 whole chicken carcass, meat pulled from the bones (save the meat for your soup, or chicken salad, or another use)
Water to cover the chicken, about 3-4 quarts
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tablespoons peppercorns
3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon salt
6 celery stalks, chopped roughly
4 carrots, chopped roughly
1 large onion, chopped roughly
10 sprigs fresh thyme
Place chicken carcass in a large soup pot and cover with water. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring often, until the bones break apart and the vegetables are soft. Working in batches, pour the stock into a fat separator or sieve, discarding all but the clear broth.